Arresting foreign nationals for reasons like these would result in a diplomatic disaster for Egypt, at the very least, which is not something which it can afford.
The Arab Republic of Egypt is not a democracy in the complete sense of the word, but it is not controlled by a military junta as in Burma.
What we are trying to do here is to promote free culture and open content movement all over the world. Neither can we expect ourselves to change the world in one go, nor can we afford to miss out on a variety of venues for our conferences, which actually symbolise free culture and open content everywhere. Restricting ourselves to a couple of places, which are real and true democracies would give us a lot less options indeed, and would also imply that we are not really going anywhere with spreading our ideals.
The "Free culture" movement can only succeed if we become tolerant of different cultures and propagate our goals to the world.
Kyle Lutze wrote:
> it would be
> very disconcerting to have to be watching what we say in egypt to
> make sure we don't end up in jail.
> so in short, I believe the question is what guarantees will the
> attendees and speakers have that they will not be arrested even if
> they say something that the government doesn't agree with?
Common sense is your best guarantee. The best advice for anyone who
travels to any other country is, "Don't act stupid." If you stand in
the middle of Tien An Min Square in Beijing and start making public
speeches condemning Chinese human rights policies, you're asking to be
arrested... especially if you do it in Chinese instead of English. If
there is a problem with human rights in another country it's up to the
people there to fix it. The circumstances where foreign meddling might
be justified are so exceptional, that those places can never reach the
point of even asking for a Wikimania.
If attendees start carrying on about the lack of Egyptian democracy, the
easiest countermeasure is not to report it (in Arabic) in the local
media. They know these foreigners are only there for a short while, and
the last thing they would want is an international incident. That would
not be good for Egypt's very important tourist industry.
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